Happy Halloween!

This isn’t my belly, but I found it online and thought it was cute. :)

The weather has been just lovely here the past few days, but of course, it’s cooled off considerably today (like to the 30s) – just in time for trick-or-treating. :oP At least there’s no snow.
I have a midwife appointment this afternoon. Then Ava and I are heading over to Jody’s work to pick him up and do the trick-or-treating thing at a “Munchkin Masquerade,” which, unfortunately, is outside. Don’t know how long we’ll brave the cold. We’ll see how long the rockstar lasts. ;)

Hope everyone has a happy (and safe) Halloween! :)

Nursing a toddler (a 2-year-old) while pregnant

I said a long time ago that I wanted to write about my experiences nursing a toddler – not only for my own record, but in hopes that it might provide some insight to someone else out there. I figure I need to tackle this topic soon (and actually started this entry a couple weeks ago), while I still have time to reflect on it and blog about it before baby boy gets here, so here goes…

I always knew that I would nurse my children, but I never thought about the length of time I would do it. The American Academy of Pediatrics has their recommendations, as does the World Health Organization. Both seem to agree that breastfeeding should continue “as long as mutually desired by mother and child.” I figured I would play it by ear with Ava, allowing her to self-wean if possible, but not commit to anything one way or the other.

She celebrated her second birthday in June 2006 and nursing continued. By this time, Ava was only nursing a few times a day and had night-weaned as of 22 months. I’m not sure if the drop in nursing came as a result of her age or as a result of my milk drying up with my pregnancy. I had become pregnant with our second child in February 2006, and my milk dried up somewhere around 15 weeks pregnant.

While nursing a toddler was not something that bothered me, nursing a toddler while pregnant (with all the lovely pregnancy hormones coursing through my system) and without any milk coming out was less than appealing to me. I kept at it despite the fact that it wasn’t always easy, partially because I felt like it was easier to grin and bear it rather than wean. I know that may not have been the best way to respond and others chose different paths (which I can totally understand), but that’s how I handled it.

There was a time, several weeks ago, when I was seriously contemplating weaning Ava before baby boy is born. I was having such a hard time and feeling very overwhelmed with nursing (even though it wasn’t that often) and life in general. But after talking with several other moms who are either nursing now while pregnant or have nursed while pregnant, and reading the chapter about nursing while pregnant and tandem nursing in “Mothering Your Nursing Toddler,” I was reassured that all of the feelings I was having were completely normal. Such a relief! That didn’t make nursing any easier, but it did reassure me that there was nothing wrong with me for feeling the way I did.

Here we are now – me at 37+ weeks pregnant and Ava at 28 months old. She is still nursing 1 to 2 times per day – which consists of always before bedtime (though she doesn’t nurse to sleep) and sometimes once in the middle of the day. I managed to cut out the morning nursing session fairly easily by way of distraction. When she does nurse now, I place restrictions on it and it’s only for 2 to 3 minutes at most, which is really all I can handle. There have been times when nursing is just too much for me at the time and I tell her that mommy is feeling frustrated, etc. She understands and has been fine with me placing restrictions, so it works for us.

I’m hoping that by continuing to nurse her, it will make her transition from being an only child to an older sister a bit easier, since we will still have that special connecting time together each day. I know that moms who wean are still able to connect with their older child, but maybe by sharing something as sacred to her as mommy’s milk with baby brother, it will help calm her uneasiness with the changes of having to share mommy with someone else. Time will tell.

I never expected nursing while pregnant to be as difficult as it has been. Hormones can do crazy things to a person. I can totally understand why women wean while they are pregnant and I wouldn’t have been too upset if Ava had decided to wean on her own. Of course, that didn’t happen. ;)

I’m still not making any promises as to how long nursing will continue. We will take it day by day, even after baby boy comes. No matter what happens, I feel good about the nursing relationship Ava and I have had and know that we both have shared some precious memories together over the years.

I welcome any tales from mamas who have nursed while pregnant or tandem nursed. It’s always nice to know I’m not alone. Thank you. :)

By the way, I did some searches for nursing a toddler and found this info on LLL’s site with “Toddler Tips”, as well as info about nursing while pregnant. Also found this with “Toddler Nursing Testimonials.”

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“Rockin’ out roll” (with pics)

A topic other than pregnancy today, aren’t you excited? ;)

Jody, Ava, my sis and I went to the city’s kiddie Halloween parade this morning. This was our first year to attend and there was a much bigger turnout than I expected. Kids, kids – everywhere! The weather was perfect for it though – sunny and not too hot and not too cold.

Two high school bands marched in it as well as hundreds of kids and parents. And many other kids, parents, grandparents, etc. stood by to watch the parade. After the parade (which spanned three blocks), several of the downtown merchants gave out candy to all the trick-or-treaters.

We decided to dress Ava as a rockstar this year after how much she enjoyed “Rockstar Supernova” on TV when we’d watch it and how much she enjoys “rockin’ out” with da-da when he plays “Guitar Hero” on the Playstation. :) We taught her to do the rock ‘n roll hand gesture and along with it she says, “Rockin’ out roll!” despite the fact we tell her it’s “rock ‘n roll.” ;)

She happens to be a big fan of The Beatles, so I was quite happy to find her shirt at Target (in the toddler boys’ section) last week. I made her guitar out of cardboard last night as a last-minute costume addition. After I finished it, she walked around the house strumming it and singing a song she made up that went like this, “rock n roll, rock n roll, rock n roll, etc.” ;) We gave her some punky blue hair today as well, but I don’t think it showed up very well in the pics.

Anyway, here are a few pics from today. :) Happy early Halloween!

Watching the parade before we jumped in it ourselves:

Riding high in the parade with Aunt Carrie and Da-da:

Our little rockstar:

The family (and yes, I am wearing butterfly wings):

My belly cast

Warning: artistic boobage ahead.

My friend, who does belly casts professionally, came over this morning to do a belly cast for me. I’m 37 weeks today and it seemed like a good time for me to do it since who knows if baby boy is going to decide to come early or not (wishful thinking).

Anyway, it went well and I think the cast turned out beautifully. She’s taking it home to smooth it out and put a primer on it and get it ready to hang. Then I can put it on the wall or paint it or whatever I decide to do. I need to look online for inspiration. I know there are a lot of cool things that can be done with them. Actually, with a quick search, I just found some cool ideas here and here. I love the one with the baby’s footprints on the cast. So sweet!

My sis took some pics of the event. :)

Here I am getting covered in plaster:

Holding the belly cast after it dried and came off:

Just the cast:

36 week maternity pictures

I/we attempted to do some maternity pictures this weekend. It was NOT easy. First of all, I don’t really have the room in my livingroom to fit us all into the picture (using my 50 mm lens) well. Secondly, it was a PITA going back and forth setting the timer each time. Thirdly, I decided maybe it would be easier to just have Jody take over the camera for some pics of me alone and me and Ava together. But unfortunately, he just doesn’t have much experience using my camera, so most of the pictures came out blurry, but he did get some keepers. :)

Without further complaining ado, here they are:

We had our home visit with the midwives tonight which went well. I can’t believe we are at the end of this pregnancy. I’ll probably write more about it all another day.

On Thursday, a friend of mine is coming over to do a belly casting for me. I never wanted one with Ava, but I’ve seen some cool things done with them since then (Ninotchka’s inspired me) and I think it would be nice to have. So I’m excited about that. :)

As Ava would say (courtesy of Aunt Carrie’s teaching) – Peace out everybody. ;)

Things overheard during this pregnancy

Bodily Functions
Said by me:
“I keep getting hiccups in my butt.” (After I kept feeling baby’s hiccups down low – basically in my butt.)

Terms of Endearment
Said by Ava to me:
“What are you doing, belly-butt?” (Her latest petname for me. Nice, eh? :oP)

And lastly, just a funny overheard yesterday morning while we were all still in bed…

Ava (while holding out her hand in front of my face): “Eat it, eat it.”
Me: “What is it??”
Ava: “A crumb.”
Me: “Where did it come from?”
Ava (matter of factly): “My eye.”